May 25, 2024

One Atlanta Braves player has emerged as one of baseball’s finest hitters thus far.
The Atlanta Braves have one of baseball’s greatest records (15-6), with a.714 winning percentage.

It is fueled by an offense that remains one of the finest in baseball despite the lack of power production from the players at the top of the lineup.

That offensive is being rewarded in MLB.com’s first MVP vote of the season, with several Braves players appearing in the inaugural straw poll. Ronald Acuña Jr., the reigning MVP and among the toppers of the list for stolen bases, is sitting in third position, getting two first-place votes. However, there is one more Brave on the board:

Marcell Ozuna, a designated hitter, received one first-place vote and finished fourth in the first MVP election.

 

Marcell Ozuna suspension

 

Jason Foster, an MLB.com reporter who polled 45 different MLB.com experts, wrote on Ozuna’s impressive start to the season (all stats through Sunday):

Ozuna has been on a tear since late May. Ozuna has emerged as one of baseball’s most feared hitters following a dismal start to 2023, when he had a wRC+ of just 10 through May 1.
Ozuna leads baseball through 20 games this season with nine homers, 27 RBIs, a.713 slugging percentage, and a 1.117 OPS, continuing where he left off in 2023, when he finished with 40 homers and 100 RBIs after a poor start. However, this is what happens when a hitter regularly stings the ball like Ozuna.
He rates in MLB’s top one percent or better in anticipated batting (.389) and expected slugging (.810), and his 92.2 mph average exit velocity is the  highest it’s been in four seasons. And his barrel rate? It’s 19.7 percent, easily the highest of his career. It’s all made Ozuna a major contributor to the Braves’ MLB-leading .828 team OPS.

The 33-year-old Ozuna has been the major cause behind Atlanta’s offensive success this season, but his hot run goes beyond 2024; since that dismal start to the season, Ozuna has been one of baseball’s finest hitters. Ozuna has batted in 147 games dating back to May 1st, 2023.301/.371/616, 47 homers, 125 RBIs.

Also collecting down-ballot votes in MLB.com’s poll were shortstop Orlando Arcia, who is presently batting.338/.369/.494, and first baseman Matt Olson, who is buried in a 1-23 slump with 10 strikeouts that has dropped his batting average to.222.

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